I don't know Lauren's last name, partly because I was drinking while researching this post and partly because I was drinking while I was researching this post, but I'll never forget her answer to my question. I'd just ordered a glass of Prairie's Funky Gold Mosaic and was blown away buy the musky, dank smell that wafted from the glass. I asked Lauren, who pours beer at the Meddlesome Moth, to help me describe it.
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"Wet dog," she said, after pulling a lungful of air with her nose deep inside the glass. When beers ferment naturally, they have a tendency to pick up all manner of ambient funk from the environment, and Lauren's assessment was spot on. I pictured a Labrador that had just jumped from a pond with a limp mallard in its mouth. Its fur was caked with mud and algae.
Horse blanket is another term you'll hear on occasion to describe beers like this -- if you can picture the layer of wool that sits between a horse's sweaty back and the saddle. Now sniff it. If these images don't evoke refreshing flavors for you, imagine how sweaty feet have been used to describe the most coveted of cheeses. Or how rotten grapes produce some of the most nuanced dessert wines. They call it "noble rot," because it produces amazingly complex flavors.
Funky Gold Mosaic is a dry-hopped sour ale. The brewery takes their regular Prairie Gold and then folds in a huge amount of Mosaic hops. The results are refreshing ... a little bit pineapple perhaps? But with a heady, funky, hoppy flavor that sets this beer apart from other sours.
And the beer is available on draft at both the Meddlesome Moth, and LARK on the Park for $6 a glass. This isn't what you'd expect when you try to envision a crisp summer beer drinking experience, but there it is. Man's best friend, freshly hosed down in a glass of liquid gold -- refreshing and delicious.